The information on this page is for use by suppliers or users of biosolids.

Permissions are Licences, Permits and Registrations. The Environment Protection Act 2017 framework may need you to hold a permission. You must hold a permission to perform a prescribed activity. The Environment Protection Regulations 2021 list prescribed activities.

If you supply or use biosolids, you may need a permission. These are:

  • an A15 ‘Biosolids supply or use’ permit or permit exemption. This type of permit can only be applied if the biosolids, when assessed in accordance with our Guidelines for Environmental Management (publication 943) meet a treatment grade equal to or better than T2; and a contaminant grade equal to or lower than C2.
  • an A16 ‘Supply or use of reportable priority waste where the treatment grade or contaminant grade are greater than T2 and C2.

If you are not sure what type of permission you might need, check if you need a permission.  

Learn about types of permits and their conditions. This includes standard conditions for A15 permits that you must comply with.

Exemptions relating to the supply or use of biosolids  

Operating licence exemptions for A03 (sewage treatment) activities

Operators of an A03 (Sewage Treatment) activity may be able to operate under an exemption.  An exemption exists under regulation 38(a)(i)(ii) if:

  1. Your activity discharges or deposits waste only to land at a design capacity of 100 000 litres per day or less; and
  2. You hold an A15 Permit for the biosolids scheme.

Permission exemption for use of biosolids 

If you receive biosolids from a supplier for use, you may be eligible for an exemption from an A15 permit. An exemption exists under regulation 40(1)(b) if you meet the following criteria: 

  • Your supplier holds an A15 permit
  • You use the biosolids following regulation 63(f) 
  • You use biosolids in the way allowed by the supplier's permit.

Sometimes, an A15 Permit holder may supply biosolids for use at different sites. The permitted supplier must have agreements for each site using biosolids. In this case, receiving users can be exempt from holding an A15 permit for the use of biosolids.   

Further processing of biosolids such as composting or thermal treatment needs other permissions. These activities are not authorised by A15 permits or exemptions.

Permit application requirements for A15 activity 

Your permit application must be in the form and manner acceptable for EPA to assess. You must: 
  • provide information listed below for an A15 permit application 
  • provide general information required for all permit applications (See how to apply for a permit).

EPA assesses applications for permissions against criteria. EPA assessments make sure the risks are minimised so far as practicable. This includes consideration of how biosolids will be used.

In your application you need to provide:

  • A current activity site plan for each activity site
  • Information about the biosolids contaminant and treatment grades and relevant supporting evidence
  • The quantity of biosolids that will be used or supplied for use and supporting evidence
  • Information about the biosolids storage capacity and relevant supporting evidence
  • Information about the intended uses for the biosolids
  • A risk management and monitoring program (RMMP) for your activity
  • Any other relevant information including consideration of the standards or requirements specified in EPA guideline 943: Guidelines for environmental management: Biosolids Land Application.

Changes to permits for supply or use of biosolids

The permission required for the supply or use of biosolids changed on 01 July 2021. Find out about these changes and what action to take now. These changes do not apply to A15 Permits issued after 01 July 2021, which are not affected.

Transitioned permits for supply or use of biosolids

Under section 470 of the Environment Protection Act 2017 (the Act), some 1970 Act exemptions transitioned to permits. Exemptions for biosolids supply or use issued under previous regulations became A15 permits.

These exemptions were issued under regulation 12(c) of the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017 or equivalent prior provision. The transitioned A15 Permits came into force on 01 July 2021.

This transition allows biosolids use schemes to continue operating under the 2017 Act.

Amending transitioned permits

We're amending all A15 transitioned permits. We're doing this to make sure your permits are consistent and the conditions are up to date. This amendment will align your permit with the requirements of the new Act. This page details changes to transitioned permits and what you need to do.

Provide information before we amend your permit

Before amending transitioned permits, we must first gather important information to verify our records. Transitioned permit holders will be required to provide information about all their biosolids use schemes.

The information required for each A15 activity site includes:

  • Confirm administrative details are up to date
  • Provide a current activity site plan for each activity site
  • Provide a copy of your current EIP, REIP
  • Confirm the contaminant grade and treatment grade of biosolids used or supplied for use under the scheme; and
  • Confirm quantity of biosolids supplied for use annually.

Receiving your amended permit and notice of amendment

When we receive the requested information, we'll amend your transitioned A15 permit. You will then receive a notice of amendment and your amended permit. The notice of amendment outlines the details of your amended permit. It will include the new conditions attached to your permit. All standard conditions for A15 activities will be added to transitioned permits.

Permits for this activity can be issued for up to 5 years. You must apply to renew your permit at least 15 business days before it expires. All applications must be made through our EPA Portal.

Your amended permit will expire on 30 June 2026.

Amended permits will have an expiry date of 30 June 2026 – 5 years from commencement of the new Act.  The details and conditions of your permit will be published to the Public Register. This will be done once your permit is amended. 

Reviewed 6 May 2024